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GE Tree Planting Unacceptable Under Intl. Standard

GE tree Planting Unacceptable under International Standards

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ P O Box 11-057, Wellington eco@reddfish.co.nz

Media Release - Wellington - Thursday 24 July 2003

Forest Research Institute GE tree Planting Unacceptable under International Standards

"Planting genetically engineered radiata pine and spruce trees is a waste of time and money because their products will not be acceptable under international plantation standards to which New Zealand companies are intending to work, says the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ.

"The Forest Research Institute is out of touch with international wood product markets, says Cath Wallace, co-chair of ECO, a body of 65 member organisations.

"The international Forest Stewardship Council has a process for developing National Standards. The major forestry companies, environmental groups and others in New Zealand are working together to develop these for New Zealand.

The new standards must comply with the international FSC Principles and Criteria. Forestry companies want their exotic tree plantations to be certified as compliant to enhance their products' marketability and their market access.

The FSC Principles for the Standards are clear that trees must not be produced using genetic engineering. The FSC text says in Principle 6.8 that "The use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited". There is no leeway.

"Doubts about genetic engineering are not limited to New Zealand. Just as the European supermarkets are saying "no" to GE, so the Forest Stewardship Council Principles and Criteria have said since February 2000 at least that there is to be no GE for certified plantations.

"The Forest Research Institute is wasting time and money playing around with GE trees. When the consumers do not want GE, what's the point of planting GE with all the attendant risks?"

ENDS

For further information see www.fscoax.org, FSC Principles and Criteria, Document 1.2, Revised February 2000. Principle 6.8

Contact: Cath Wallace at 389-1696 or 463-5713.

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